Interim Heating and Pumpkin Processing


Beautiful “Connecticut Field” and “Fairytale” pumpkins (a classic french heirloom pumpkin aka Musque De Provence) in my kitchen awaiting processing. They make as good decorations as they do good food! :D

No frost yet, we have been very very lucky thus far!

Two close calls, one on October 4th where we hit a low of about 32F but it was a windy cloudy night so no frost fell…our other close call was just the other night on October 19th when we hit a low of about 34F.  Our average first frost date is October 15th so right now we are living are borrowed time…and looking at the forecast it appears that there is no chance of frost for at least the next week or so…good for the pumpkins in the garden that are still ripening on the vine and good for the heating bill!

We don’t heat the house in October if we can help it, we haven’t heated the house in October for the past three years. Every year I view it as a challenge to the body and the psyche, weaning myself of summer’s heat according to nature’s calendar, allowing myself to feel the chill and letting my body adapt.

Most people, in America at least, thanks to electric heating and air conditioning spend the majority of their lives at a comfortable 72F, but this weakens the body and what do you do when there is no electricity?  It’s yet just one more way in which to feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable in an extreme situation when, with just a little willingness to allow uncomfort onto ourselves as the situation naturally arises in our day to day living, we can become better acclimated to a wider range of temperatures.

Just three years ago, I was one of those women who got easily cold and huddled under a blanket shivering and sipping hot tea or coffee the very moment the ambient indoor temperature dropped below 70F :lol: . My husband, however, is the exact opposite, he hates heat as much as I hate cold and the moment the temperature starts to get above 76F he’s wiping his brow and moaning about the heat.. soooo we made a mutual pact to help each other adapt…he stopped using AC in the summer and I agreed to run the heat for only five months of the year (November-March) it used to be six and sometimes even seven months out of the year, and considering that he harvests the majority of the wood that we heat the house with it is a HUGE help to him!

Now, three years later, I don’t even feel cold until the temperature gets down to around 60-62F and I sleep quite comfortably with nighttime temperatures in the low 50’s as long as I have my trusty wool blanket :D  When the temperature drops we don’t light a fire in the woodstove or turn on a heater, instead we wear extra clothes (pants combined with a t-shirt or long sleeve shirt under a fleece hoodie with socks and house slippers is all I need to feel warm, same goes for the kiddos too) and we keep all the blinds and curtains open to let in as much sun as possible and we roast all the tasty pretty pumpkins that we grew in the garden over the summer and fall!

The residual heat radiating from the oven during the pumpkin roasting keeps the house at around 64-68F during the day depending on how warm it is outside.  And then I use the tasty pumpkin puree to make everything from pumpkin pie to pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin bread and pumpkin cookies, pumpkin soup and even pumpkin lasagna..also not forgetting to mention my newest recipe for Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream! (just do a quick search on your favorite search engine for “pumpkin recipes” there are many to choose from!)

Most of the sweet treats, like cookies and bread, I put in the freezer to use over the course of the winter for entertaining, like around Thanksgiving, or to give as a gift.  If I have too much pumpkin I also can it in cubes which requires a long duration of processing in a pressure canner, further helping to warm the house. (for a good article on pressure canning pumpkin, click here)

Pumpkin roasting is extremely easy! You just take your pumpkin, cut around the stem and pull it out and then cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy messiness (I feed all of that to the chickens, they love the seeds) rub it with a bit of olive oil on the inside and set cut-side down in your roasting pan, add a couple tablespoons of water and pop into a 350F oven for about an hour.  When the flesh is soft and easily separates from the skin of the pumpkin, remove from oven and let cool, scoop out flesh and puree in a blender or food processor (I feed the pumpkin skins to the chickens of course) …if you absolutely need to then add a bit of extra water to get it to process smoothly, but seriously try not to do so unless it is absolutely necessary…in my opinion, it keeps and cooks up so much better without the extra water!

Doing all of this feeds us well and cheaply and heats the house at the same time, all in all a win-win situation if you ask me :D

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkin in the middle and Connecticut Field Pumpkins on either side

Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkin in the middle and Connecticut Field Pumpkins on either side

I have these three gorgeous pumpkins just sitting on my counter begging to be used for something. Over the weekend we had guests visiting and I had it in my head to make a pumpkin pie for them but summer returned with a vengeance here with highs in the mid 80’s when in July our highs were only reaching the low 70’s (and sometimes only in the high 60’s) on most days and that completely took away any desire for pumpkin pie. So, instead, I got my creative juices flowing and devised this pumpkin pie “ice cream” using coconut milk (since our goats are not in milk right now, otherwise I’d have used their milk and cream..) and egg yolks as the base and it turned out so good that I’ve made five batches in the past week and all of our guests loved it :)

processing the winter luxury pie pumpkin

processing the winter luxury pie pumpkin

All you need do is whisk together in a bowl:

1 cup pumpkin puree (I roasted a homegrown “Winter Luxury” pie pumpkin, scooped out the flesh and pureed it in the food processor)

1 13.5 oz. can coconut milk, preferably organic, we buy this in bulk from Amazon Prime Subscribe and Save

5 egg yolks, I used yolks from our hens eggs of course :D

1/2 cup raw sugar, preferably rapadura but demerara will do

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger (this may seem like a lot but I LOVE GINGER!)

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. hazelnut extract (totally optional, but I LOVE the taste of hazelnut with pumpkin :D )

Dump the mixture into your ice cream maker and process according to your maker’s instructions. Serve at once!

my ice cream maker, birthday gift from last year

my ice cream maker, birthday gift from last year

churn churn churn

churn churn churn

the finished product :D

the finished product :D

How I Start A New Garden

For every year of my married adult life my husband and I have had a garden.  Even when we first got married and lived in an apartment, we still had a garden.  I have started many new gardens in my lifetime and hope to start many many more!  The first thing I always do is wait for a nice soaking 24+ hour rain.  We recently had one of these kinds of rains here just two days ago, so I took the opportunity to dig out a new section for our garden and planted rutabagas, turnips, spinach and kale for a fall harvest.

The area had been previously overrun with massive weeds, but the nice soaking rain loosened up all their roots and so pulling them out was a cinch!  This is why you wait for a nice soaking rain :D

in the process of pulling out very tall weeds by hand (btw in the back left corner you can see my husband working in another section of the garden)

in the process of pulling out very tall weeds by hand (btw in the back left corner you can see my husband working in another section of the garden…we often garden together *grin*)

You can see exactly in the picture just how tall the weeds were.  To pull them out you simply don some sturdy leather work gloves, grab the plant very firmly at the base as close to the ground as possible and pull…as long as the ground is wet enough 80% of the weeds should come out with very little to slightly moderate effort.  With the other 20% of the weeds, you’ll get the plant but the roots will get left biggie, they’ll get dug out later on..the main goal right now is simply to clear the spot of weeds.

all clear :)

all clear :)

Once the spot is mostly cleared of weeds, grab a shovel and start digging :D  My most favorite shovel is the Kobalt “Excavator”, at least that is what it was called when we bought two of them nearly ten years ago, now they’re called “Kobalt short-handle fiberglass digging shovel“.  Why a shovel?  you might ask, Why not a tiller?  Well, there are three main reasons why I prefer a shovel 1.)  They don’t make any noise.  Gasoline powered tillers are obnoxiously LOUD, which is annoying and turns the pleasant task of garden work into a drudgery simply to be tolerated.  2.)  Shovels don’t stink!  Gasoline powered tillers stink!  They stink BAD!  3.)  Shovels don’t require gasoline.  Other than the initial upfront cost and the price of a metal file for the occasional sharpening, as long as you clean it after every use and keep it stored away in a dry place, the shovel will last for many many years without any further money or time lost in maintenance.  Like I said before we’ve had ours for nearly ten years, they are 25 bucks each, so for only 50 bucks we have been using the same shovels to garden for going on ten years now…that’s 5 bucks a year in money spent so far.  Save the gasoline for the chainsaw! :lol:

Another thing that most people don’t ever consider: Digging makes you STRONG!   -and that’s a good thing!  Not only will you save money over using a tiller and paying for gasoline and maintenance for that tiller, but you will also reap the many physical benefits of digging with a shovel.  No need to jump up and down in front of your TV or pay someone to let you walk in place on their machine in a room that smells like sweat filled with other people who are all doing the same exact thing…like some sorta hamster wheel for humans, NO THANK YOU!  Why do any of that shit when you can just grow a garden??  You get the benefits of the physical labor as well as the nutritional benefits of all the tasty fruits and veggies you will eat.  Sounds like a win-win situation if you ask me :D

freshly dug

freshly dug

Digging is very simple, anyone of average and even less than average physical fitness can do so.  Those of less than average physical fitness may have to go it slowly and not be able to dig much at first, but if you discipline yourself and keep on going you WILL get stronger and be able to dig more and more…after all, you have to start somewhere, and I can think of no better way to get fit than growing your own food!

The way I dig, I just jab my shovel into the ground, stand on the flattened steel part with one foot (sometimes both feet) and push the shovel using my weight and lower body strength as deeply into the ground as it will go.  Then, with my knees slightly bent, lifting with my legs and NOT my back (so important!) I flip the “clod” of dirt upside down so that what was the top of the ground is now at the bottom of the hole and the bottom of the “clod” is now the new surface of the soil.  Then I take my shovel and stab at the clod repeatedly until it is all broken up and pushed down into the hole, removing any roots, sticks, rocks etc. that I may find as I break up the clod.  Any weeds that were left are now at the bottom of a 10-12 inch deep hole covered by a new layer of dirt, once you plant your seeds by the time the roots get down that far the weeds will have long decomposed and added nutritional benefit to the soil.  This works when it’s only a few weeds, but not with many, so don’t think you can take the easy way out and skip the weed pulling part before you dig…it will not work :P

The plot in the pictures is about 10′ x 15′ and only took me about 90 minutes from weeding to a freshly dug plot, and that’s for a nearly 6 month pregnant woman who had to take many pee breaks! lol  And look, if a nearly 6 month pregnant woman can do it, then so can you :D

My (Current) Favorite Meal

This is my take on a traditional Chili Rellenos using homegrown peppers :)

First, I make the refried beans.  Take 2 cups of pinto beans (we buy organic in 25 lb. bags for $1.50/lb.) and soak in a warm place for 12 hours, drain and rinse and let sprout for 12-24 hours.  Sprouting neutralizes enzyme inhibitors and other “anti-nutrients” that are inherent to ALL seeds and act as a protective mechanism for the seed, once sprouted it is no longer a bean but now a plant.  This is what pinto beans look like after sprouting:


Then cook the beans just like any other bean, boil in water till soft then drain really well and set aside or store in fridge until ready to make the refried beans.  To make the refried beans, chop 1 medium-large onion very finely and mince a couple of cloves of garlic.  Fry them in butter, bacon grease, or coconut oil or some combination thereof, over low heat until very soft and carmelized.  Turn up the heat to medium-high, add more fat and then add your cooked sprouted pinto beans, mashing with a potato masher and frying until all the fat is absorbed, keep adding the fat as you fry until it is nice and creamy…if it seems dry you haven’t added enough fat!!  Season liberally with salt and pepper… Here is the finished product:



Next, you cook your rice.  We like organic brown basmati rice that we buy in 25 pound bags just like the pinto beans.  Soak the rice for about 12 hours, rice doesn’t sprout very well in my experience but as long as you put it in a warm place and plenty of scummy bubbles form (a sign that germination has occurred) it should be fine for eatin’.  I most often cook my rice in homemade homegrown chicken broth.  About 3 cups soaked rice to 6 cups chicken broth cooked very very very slowly over very very very low heat for about 45 minutes to an hour.  Turn off heat, let sit covered for about 10 minutes then fluff with a fork and add butter and salt and pepper.  This is a basic brown rice that I make at least once a week and keep on hand in the fridge for quick meals.

Now that the refried beans and rice are ready, brown some ground beef, in this case I used grassfed ground beef :)


Then cut some cold cream cheese into “sticks”.  I have also made this dish in the past using goat cheese made from our goat’s milk, but since my goats aren’t in milk right the cream cheese will have to do :)


Then stuff your cream cheese and then the ground beef into your peppers.  In this case I used mildly spicy dark green “Biggie” chili and light green “Hungarian Budapest” peppers from the garden…you can use ANY type of pepper!


Cover your pan full of stuffed peppers with aluminum foil and bake in a 325 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until peppers are soft, you’ll know when the peppers are close to done as their enticing aroma fills the whole house with deliciousness!  Then take pan out of oven, lift up foil and top the peppers with cooked brown rice and shredded cheese, cover with foil and put back in oven for a few more minutes until rice is heated through and cheese is melted.


Serve up the finished product with the refried beans on the side and top with sour cream and salsa and/or hot sauce or do like me and replace the rice with a couple of nitrate/nitrite free all beef hot dogs!  Either way, it’s DAMN GOOD :D



High Summer Stir-Fry


You’ve got oodles and tons of veggies pumping out of the garden . . it’s all you can do to keep up with the canning and the freezing and the fermenting and yet there is MORE STILL!  That’s when you make what I like to call a “High Summer Stir-Fry” which, in my opinion, is the epicurean epitome of the summer garden!

First get out your cutting board and start chopping those veggies!  I snap the beans first and then cut in half and set aside, chop up the onion, garlic, any peppers (both hot and sweet), yellow summer squash, zucchini squash, tomatoes, and any herbs.  Chop them all to your desired size, some like larger hunks and others like smaller..just keep in mind that the larger hunks take longer to cook and try to make everything about the same size if you can.

Next, get out a great big wok, stir-fry skillet or huge cast iron pan.  I like to use my huge and heavy 12″ diameter cast iron skillet, a flea market find from over 10 years ago that was in horrible shape but I restored to near perfect condition..I use it for just about everything!  Add a fair amount of oil to the pan, I usually use peanut oil or coconut oil, enough for it to liberally coat the bottom of the pan and heat over medium-high heat.

The key to a stir-fry is to add the things that take longer to cook first.  So, I always add green beans first and let fry for about 3 minutes and then I add the onions, garlic, and peppers and let everything fry again for 3-4 minutes while constantly stirring.  Then I add in the squashes, mix really well, then turn heat down to medium and cover and let steam/fry cook for about 10 minutes till squash is cooked through.  And lastly add your tomatoes and chopped herbs (I usually use parsley, oregano, and basil..all from the garden) and stir and cook for about one minute.  Season with grey sea salt and freshly ground pepper and if there are no hot peppers in the stir-fry then add some homemade hot sauce too (that’s how I like it, and we still have close to a gallon of hot sauce left over from last year…and I must say, it has aged quite well :) )

Dish it up and chow down :D


My Video Game Theory Of Life

In a land far far away from here, one day I decided to go out and buy a video game, a new one called “Earth”…and I am playing it still.

Being a gamer, this is how I view life, as a video game, and the real me is outside of all just playing away.

Because I want to have a good time, and because I wish to win the game, I do my best to abide by the rules and parameters of the game’s Creator. But some of the other players have rebelled against the Creator of the game, thinking that they somehow know of a better way to win the game apart from the Creator, they have cheated and taken shortcuts and developed a different set of rules and parameters that must be adhered to in order to “win” the game…but this “game” within the game doesn’t actually exist, and in reality is a snare used to trap people and keep them from playing the REAL game. Their “game” within the game has wrecked all kinds of havoc and destruction, however the Creator of the game allows this to continue in order to show that the game cannot be played apart from him, there are NO SHORTCUTS…taking a shortcut means you are going to have a bad time playing the game.

Making yourself aware of the instruction manual (A.K.A. “The Bible” = Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth) and adhering as closely as possible to those instructions is your primary safeguard against falling into this snare.

The majority of these instructions are pretty simple and straightforward:

1. To be successful in this game you must listen to and trust in the game’s Creator, not in the game itself or in other people playing the game with you. Some of these people are real and playing the game for real, just like you are, but others, although looking quite realistic, are simply constructs of the game itself. One of the goals of the game is learning to discern this difference.

2. Do not take the Creator lightly or use him as a means to further your own ends as a “cover” for evil deeds like the rebels do, professing to be all good and holy and righteous while all the while playing their own “game” apart from the Creator’s game. Do not profess to trust in and follow the game’s Creator if you really do not mean it and do not intend to play the game according to his rules and parameters.

3. For the duration that you are inside the game, for every six days that you work you should rest for one day. This does not mean work seven days and never rest or work five days and rest for two days. These instructions are for your own benefit and represent the perfect balance, you’ll work enough to make a decent living so that you may exist somewhat comfortably within the game and that one day of rest will prevent you from getting stressed-out and overtired which can lead to you having a bad time playing the game. I don’t yet know if the ratio works in larger proportions, if resting two days for every twelve days of work or three days for eighteen days of work is just as legitimate, but it’s definitely worth experimenting with I would think.

4. If you wish to stay alive a long time, you will respect and honor the parents through whom you made passage into this game. This doesn’t mean you have to like or even love them, but you should go out of your way to treat them with kindness and consideration and see to it that their basic needs are taken care of as they age and get ready to leave the game.

5. You have NO RIGHT to forcibly remove another player from the game, doing so is an automatic forfeiture of your right to stay in the game. If someone tries to remove you from the game then use your own best judgement as to what you should do. Defending your right to stay in the game is NOT wrong, especially if, at the same time, you are defending other players who have not yet developed the ability to defend themselves, like young children for example. The rebels who are playing the “game” within the game have nothing but pure hatred for those who profess to follow the Creator of the game and strive to adhere to his instruction manual over the rules and parameters of their “game”. If they discover who you are, they WILL seek to forcibly remove you from the game by any means necessary. However, being forcibly removed from the game by a rebel guarantees you an automatic victory especially if you sacrifice your place in the game in order that others might continue playing. If there are no young children or innocent bystanders involved and you are alone then it comes down to a personal decision as to whether you wish to defend your right to stay in the game or receive an automatic victory by allowing yourself to be forcibly removed. No one else can make that decision for you.

6. Do not have sex with anybody or anything other than your own spouse of the opposite gender!!  If you wish to have sex but have no spouse then get married, but ONLY to a human that you are not already related to and ONLY to a human that is of the gender that is opposite your own.  And, no, you cannot legally be married to more than one spouse.  Sex is allowable under these parameters ONLY!!  Sex partaken of under any other set of circumstances, while it might seem like fun for the moment, will lead to certain consequences which will make for a bad time playing the game. These instructions are for your benefit and protection, if you are smart you will not take them lightly!!

7. Do not take or use things that do not belong to you. There are a great many and numerous interactive objects within the game, but using or taking what does not belong to you can anger and enrage other players in the game which means you are going to have a bad time playing the game. The key here is to remember this: If you wouldn’t want it done to you, don’t do it to somebody else…and nobody wants to be stolen from.

8. Never speak, write, or adhere to that which is not true. Since every single second of playtime within the game is being recorded and constantly reviewed by the Creator of the game, lying is purely pointless and just makes you look retarded. Like I said before, if you wouldn’t want it done to you, don’t do it to somebody else…and nobody wants to be lied to.

9. Do not desire to have what other players in the game have and then despise them for it because you do not have it. If you desire a house like theirs, work hard, save up money and buy one. If you desire a car like theirs, work hard, save up money and buy one. If you desire a spouse like theirs, get off your lazy ass and go out into the world and find one or if you are already married work to become a better spouse yourself. If you desire another player’s beauty or intelligence or any other thing over which they have no control, but were gifted them by the Creator of the game, then seek to make the most of the beauty or intelligence or whatever it is that you have been gifted with. You are NOT them and will NEVER BE them and to desire what they have and then despise them for it is purely pointless and just makes you look retarded. Work hard and make the most of who you are and what you have and you will not desire to possess what others have.

10. And last but not least remember that which you give out will return back to you. The Bible calls this “reaping what you sow”. Sow an evil seed and you will reap a full crop of evil. Sow a good seed and you will reap a full crop of goodness. While the “harvest” can, at times, be reaped from within the game, for example sow seeds of procrastination and you will reap a crop of sloth…sow seeds of intemperance and you will reap a crop of gluttony…sow seeds of whining and complaining and you will reap a bitter crop of loneliness and despair etc.   . . . BUT, more often than not, the full “reaping” is held in reserve for the day of judgment, which occurs after the game is over, during which each player’s performance in the game is judged and rewards and penalties are dealt out accordingly. So while looks can be deceiving and for a short time within the game it may look as though evil prospers and good people suffer beware of the fact that it’s just a game and not of a long duration compared to the real reality of eternity where the TRUE repercussions of their actions will be meted out once the game ends.

Some final points of advice:  According to the Creator’s instruction manual, if you wish to get the very most out of your experience while playing the video game called “Earth”, you should get married (see point # 6) and have children, preferably many children.  You should also grow a garden and strive to learn lots of different and varied skills for living off the land and spend lots of time within the main construct of the game, which isn’t the city or town built by other players but the wild or the wilderness, learn how to care for it and protect it and it will take care of you.  I personally find that one of the main challenges of the game is learning to discern lies from truth and nothing is ever as it seems on the surface.  Everything is backwards, almost to the point of ridiculousness…this is due to the twisted perversion of the “game” within the game that the rebels are playing and at this late stage of the game they have successfully deceived the majority of the playing population into believing that their version of the game is real.  If you are playing correctly then most of the time you will find yourself doing the exact opposite of everybody else, save for a select remnant few (you know who you are).  So keep this in mind…to move up you must go down, to be first you must make yourself last, to be scorned is to be exalted, to lose everything is to receive everything, to die is to live, and the truth is simple but more paradoxical than the complexity of their lies.

Method For Making Pea Soup

I harvested all the rest of our green peas yesterday, and made fresh homemade pea soup which we had with dinner last night.  This isn’t really a “recipe” but more of a method that can be applied to small two person batches or large “feed a crowd” batches of pea soup…I don’t suggest canning pea soup, it is best fresh, peas are one thing that I never can in any form, I just don’t think they taste right unless they’re absolutely fresh! :)

peas in pod

peas in pod

First, you pick the peas, feeding the spent pea vines to the goats.  Then, you shell the peas from the pods, feeding the now empty pods to the goats.  Next, you chop up some onion and garlic (preferably homegrown…mine was :D ), I like to use a ratio of 1 medium onion and 1 cloves of garlic for every 1 cup of peas.  Heat up a big pot over medium heat and add some butter or bacon grease, which is what I used.  Saute the onions and garlic in the fat for about 5-7 minutes, stir occasionally.  Add in the garden fresh shelled peas and continue the saute for about 5 more minutes, remember to stir!

bright yellow fat layer on top of homemade chicken broth made from hoemgrown chicken.  this bright yellow fat is indicative of a healthy chicken raised on bugs and green plants...I dare you to find fat like this on a chicken at the store! (hint: you won't find it!)

bright yellow fat layer on top of homemade chicken broth made from homegrown chicken. this bright yellow fat is indicative of a healthy chicken raised on bugs and green plants and is super nutritious and tasty!  …I dare you to find fat like this on a chicken at the store!         (hint: you won’t find it.)

Next, dump some broth into the big pot, just enough to barely cover the peas.  Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to a simmer and cover the pot, let simmer for anywheres from between 10 to 20 minutes.  I like really fresh green tasting pea soup so I simmer for only about 10 minutes, I don’t suggest cooking longer than 20 minutes though.

just added chicken broth to peas, check out that bright yellow fat melting in the bottom left hand corner

just added chicken broth to peas, check out that bright yellow fat melting in the bottom left hand lends SO MUCH flavor to the soup! so much so, that soup made without my own homemade homegrown broth just tastes FLAT and BORING to me now..

After everything has cooked to your liking, throw it all in the blender with some mint and chives (also homegrown)..I like a hefty amount of mint, about 30 leaves for each “blender full” of soup.  But don’t be afraid to adjust according to your own tastes.  Other great herbal combinations are parsley and chives OR mint and cilantro batches if necessary ..

blenderize…in batches if you have to..

Add the pureed pea soup back to the pot and heat over medium-low heat until hot enough to eat, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, serve it up and enjoy!

the finished pea soup

the finished pea soup